The Babadook (2014)
Written By: JR
Edited By: Grave Reviews Staff
Director: Jennifer Kent
Producer: Pete Best, Jan Chapman, Jeff Harrison et al.
Screenwriter: Jennifer Kent
Date of release: January 17, 2014
Essie Davis as Amelia
Noah Wiseman as Samuel
Hayle McElhinney as Aunt Claire
Daniel Henshall as Robbie
Barbara West as Mrs. Roach
Rating = 3/5 Graves
***May contain some spoilers***
The Babadook (2014) follows Amelia, a single mother plagued by the unfortunate death of her husband while raising her son Samuel. After reading a bedtime story about the Babadook, Samuel starts to complain about a monster lurking in their house of which they cannot get rid of. Amelia gets more and more bothered by it because Samuel would not stop, leaving her sleepless. She soon feels an ominous presence all around her.
Most of the violence in this film come from hallucinations and dream sequences, especially that you have sedative as an indicator. We catch visions of a man’s head being cut in half and a lot of yanking due to mental torture. As what is told in the book, the Babadook is sneaky and irrevocable like a nightmare. Indeed, it comes to Amelia as invasive as it should be, taunting her to kill her own son out of extreme fatigue from sleepless nights. It is unnerving, especially that you tend to undermine a piece of children’s literature.
The Grave Review
The Babadook (2014) is the debut film of Jennifer Kent, a now famed Australian director. The female gaze is obvious on this one and it is a commendable take on motherhood, especially to single mothers deemed as ‘disadvantaged women.’ It disrupts and rebuilds parenting as a career. You get a cusp of patience and its extent triggered by the chime of an intimidating children’s book. Kent’s control over all the tensions in the film interacts with the prose as it gets darker.
The film opens with a sense of urgency as we catch Amelia’s restlessness from a nightmare. Then it gives us a routine that shows Amelia struggling to have a good sleep and not having a wink of it. Through lack of sleep, it implies all the toil and tiredness of being a single mother. And with a conspiring cinematography that uses riveting images from the TV, it plunges into the realm of the supernatural.
Other than jitters of disquiet, grief from a husband’s death is felt through the cinematic palette. The colors are dull, drab, and blue, leaving the black-and-white book to touch base with reality. It also lets the story unfold through Amelia’s bleary eyes of which everything seems visceral. The overall directorial strategy is potent to make the once ostensibly nonexistent Babadook to be known.
The Babadook (2014) is an imminent interpretation, if intentional, of Edgar Allan Poe’s The Raven. It whispers turmoil, knowing that the characters are troubled, while keeping you in a trance. It is consistently gripping and slippery when it comes to menace.
However, Amelia’s son, Samuel has the most annoying scream and is very irritating. It makes you not want to have kids.
For the foregoing reasons, Grave Reviews gives The Babadook (2014) three graves out of five graves.
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